Negotiation in a Personal Injury Case

You are not required to accept an insurer’s initial offer to settle your personal injury case. Instead, you can negotiate for a higher settlement amount. Having an experienced Tampa personal injury attorney negotiate a personal injury settlement can help you obtain a fair offer from the insurance company. 

Watch Out for Bad Faith Insurance Tactics Used to Undervalue Claims

Watch Out for Bad Faith Insurance Tactics Used to Undervalue Claims

The insurance company assigns a claims adjuster to investigate your claim. The adjuster may use tactics to decrease the value of a settlement offer. Tactics used by insurance adjusters include:

  • Claiming your medical treatment was unnecessary or unreasonably priced
  • Issuing a reservation of rights letter to delay the case (a letter stating the company may deny the claim)
  • Request all your medical records instead of only the records related to your accident 
  • Claiming they cannot pay any more money than the initial settlement offer
  • Offering you much less than your damages are worth
  • Demanding a recorded or written statement as a condition to settle the case
  • Taking an unreasonable amount of time to investigate the claim

If you accept a settlement offer for your injury claim, you cannot demand more money later. That is true even if you discover additional injuries or damages. Therefore, it is wise to speak to a lawyer before accepting an offer to ensure that you receive the money you deserve for your injuries and damages.

Steps in the Negotiation Process for a Personal Injury Case

A Tampa personal injury lawyer begins the negotiation process by preparing a settlement demand letter. A demand letter provides the insurance company with details about your injuries and damages. The letter begins by stating the facts of the case and summarizing the law that holds the party liable for your damages.

The letter then describes your injuries and damages. In a personal injury case, the types of damages include non-economic and economic damages. Examples of damages you may receive include:

The insurance company reviews the demand letter. It could take a few weeks or several months to receive a reply. Generally, the insurance provider makes a counteroffer to settle the claim.

If the counteroffer is fair, your attorney may advise you to accept the offer. However, your attorney may decline the counteroffer. If so, the negotiations continue. When the parties cannot reach a settlement, it may be necessary to file a lawsuit and take the matter to trial.

Issues That Complicate Settlement Negotiations 

Blaming you for causing the accident is a common insurance tactic to avoid paying the full value of your claim. Florida’s comparative fault laws allow the court to reduce a victim’s compensation if they are partially at fault for the cause of their injury.

In other words, if a jury decides you are 40 percent at fault for the cause of a car accident, your compensation will be reduced by 40 percent. If the insurance company alleges comparative fault, it could make negotiations more challenging, if not impossible. An experienced Tampa personal injury lawyer can advise you whether accepting a lower settlement offer or proceeding to trial is best given the circumstances of your case.

Another issue that complicates settlement negotiations is calculating a value for non-economic damages.
Your non-economic damages are the pain and suffering caused by an accident and injury. There is not a standard monetary value for pain and suffering damages. Insurance companies downplay pain and suffering. 

Therefore, your attorney needs to provide evidence showing that your injuries have significantly impacted your life. He may use medical experts to explain how the severity of your damages adversely affects your quality of life. Specific details about how you suffered and will continue to suffer can help increase the value of your claim.

Most insurance companies base the value of non-economic damages on a multiplier of your economic damages. In other words, they multiply the total of your monetary losses by a number between 1.5 and five. The multiplier is based on numerous factors, including the severity of your injuries. 

Your lawyer fights to use the highest multiplier possible, and the insurance company argues for a lower multiplier. However, an experienced attorney understands how to use the evidence to negotiate higher values. 

Contact Our Tampa Personal Injury Lawyers for a Free Consultation 

Successful settlement negotiations require a certain level of experience and legal knowledge. Our experienced Tampa personal injury attorneys are aggressive and skilled negotiators. They understand what is at stake and fight to get the maximum compensation for your car accident or other injury cases. 

Contact our law office to schedule your free consultation with one of our injury attorneys to discuss your case.